Posted on September 4, 2018
Forty three years ago I came to the Rizal Technological Colleges as a student. What I found was a provincial school that was lacking in almost everything, except water and graffiti. The chairs were inadequate. There were few books in the library, many of which were priceless Filipiniana collected by Dr. Marcial Ranosa, the acting Executive Dean before Dr. Lydia Profeta took the post. There was almost no equipment in the only laboratory in the campus, the Biology and Chemistry laboratory. There were few typewriters, and our teachers asked us to draw the keyboard on a bond paper and practice typing on it. That’s why until now I type with just three fingers. The walls were full of graffiti. There was no water in the faucets and in the comfort rooms, but we did not lack for water: the building we occupied, a long 270-meter Isidro Rodriguez Hall, ran lengthwise along the Marikina River, and you could see Benny Sta. Ana and other janitors fetching water from the river to clean the comfort rooms. There was only one airconditioned room in the building, and it was the Executive Dean’s office. Now we are planning to aircondition ALL classrooms and it can be started in 2019 as we have already put a budget for it.
In 1977 we learned that our beloved RizalTech was about to be phased out. Our generation fought for the continued survival of this school. There would have been no more enrolment for 1st year students starting SY 1978-1979. The rest of the students will be asked to transfer to other schools. The Province of Rizal could not spend any more for a school that was politically transferred to the jurisdiction of Metro Manila. I was the President of the Kabataang Barangay of Pasig. Together with student leaders, Dr. Lydia Profeta our Executive Dean, and faculty members, we made representations with the persons who could vouch for us, in particular Madam Imelda Romualdez Marcos and her daughter Imee Marcos with whom I had the honor of knowing because of my participation in the Kabataang Barangay. We followed the mother and daughter in Malacanang, in the KB office in Fort Bonifacio, just about everywhere. We wrote letters, and finally we invited them to the RTC together with the candidates for Batasang Pambansa. Madam Imelda came to the RTC grounds with some of the candidates of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan. We gave the draft of a Presidential Decree that would convert the RTC into a State College. On April 1, 1978, President Marcos signed it.
Years later, I believe that that was my greatest achievement for the RizalTech, and it was accomplished even when I was just a student. Decades later I was elected President in 2010, twice, but that will be another story. Looking back I admire my predecessors. They did their best under the circumstances they found themselves during their tenure as President. As Isaac Newton said, I am standing on the shoulder of giants, and that is I why I can see far.
When I have been elected President I resolved upon myself to put the students at the center of all our efforts with the faculty and employees. The University is not a collection of buildings and facilities. The University is the people which comprise it. Neglect the welfare of the students, the faculty and the employees and the University will slide into mediocrity. The University is a partnership for living well.
When we took care of the welfare of our brethren, achievements were not far behind. In 8 years new 8 buildings were erected in both campuses. The Pasig Campus which has been neglected for so long finds itself in an unfamimiliar situation: it no longer has any space for any new structures after 5 buildings were built in it. The old Javier Building has been repainted, and new computer laboratories have been established when there was not even a single working computer for the use of students in the whole Campus when I became President. The newest state-of-the-art engineering equipment have been acquired for the Campus, and for the first time, the Campus has produced graduates in Engineering.
Do not neglect the Pasig Campus again.
We see 3 new huge buildings in the Boni Campus, all built in the years 2011 to 2018. We see dozens of drinking fountains everywhere. We have the most number of computers for student use among all SUCs in the country. We have acquired a big number of state-of-the-art equipment for our laboratories in both campuses. We have renovated our libraries and beautified our campuses. Our research output has increased tremendously. Our performance in licensure examinations have jumped up to the levels above the national passing averages, and we have new board topnotchers. We are in a state of financial bliss because of careful and prudent financial management and planning. We have the highest applied part time rates among all SUCs. We have supported the personal and professional growth of our faculty and employees. It is not just in culture and sports where we excel, you see.
In 2015 we were 166th in the national rankings among the 1,700 tertiary institutions in the country. In 2016 we jumped to 135th. In 2017, we found ourselves in the 31st place. And now we are in rank number 24. It is now your obligation and duty to improve upon this. And these are all because we care for our students and faculty and employees.
It will be your obligation also to face our shortcomings and temporary setbacks. You will face challenges all throughout your term as President and I hope you will have the courage and the guts to face them.
In the next few months we shall have a new President. I have served 8 years as your President. While there were technical possibilities to continue for a few more years, I thought it would be feckless to continue. There will always be newer and better ideas which new a leadership can provide. Now it is time for change, and hopefully it will be change for the better. To the next President and to the RizalTech community, I know you can do it if only you will take cognizance of a few important points.
Do not slide into factionalism and divisions. You know that in our history we had stretches when we allowed ourselves to slide into mediocrity. Do not get mired in mediocrity; it should be a thing of the past.
Put yourself last in the order of things. Put the welfare of the University ahead of everything.
There remain a lot of things to be done. The job of the President is never an easy one. On the contrary, it is a very demanding job. There are so many things left undone, and time was short. The RizalTech is capable of doing great only if we do not waste our time in squabbles. The best the new President can do is never enough. You must do more than your best.